Root Institute belongs to the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, founded by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche). It is a Gelug-pa organization.
At Root Institute, they teach the (normally 5 years) Basic Program, but I am not sure they do it as long as 5 years. There are FPMT centers where it lasts 2 or 3 years only. The curriculum is always the same, though.
I studied the 5 years BP at Nalanda Monastery, in France (the program was in Tibetan, English, French, and Spanish). It is a lot of study, discussion groups, exams and learning by heart, "karma yoga" (i.e. community service). There are usually more lay people than monks. It is designed specifically for those who do not speak Tibetan and cannot attend the study program at Sera monastic "university". In addition, contrary to Sera, it is not exclusively monastic. The Program includes a bit of meditation (45 minutes day is not much indeed), and sometimes formal debates. Normally, the 45 minutes session has to be Lam Rim meditation.
On the importance of studying, there is a Zen nun (ven Myokyo) who said:
Real acquaintance with the Dharma is necessary because, being what we
are, we are prone to stray. If we do not have the framework of the
teachings, and continuously test ourselves against it, we will very
soon be off and away down a blind alley. Training and the teachings
need to match, need to go hand in hand.
On a more personal level, I feel studying helped me read (in a general sense) on my own. I believe I got rid of the grossest misconceptions I had. Studying also helped me dig channels for my mind to flow, like a river (of course, it stills wanders off... finds its way to unwholesome places and dwells on what has to be abandoned). It supports meditation. The more I studied, the more I understood it can lead somewhere but it is a question of how we relate to study and how we use it.
Attending the 5 years BP is one of the best things I have done in my life.
One thing to bear in mind, though, is that the FPMT Basic Program covers just a few texts belonging to one tradition in particular. I would suggest that, once grounded in one tradition, entertaining diversity is an antidote to sectarian stances and over-simplifications.